There are times when I’m surprised I don’t have enough country music covered here at ThisIsBooksMusic.com. I was slow to embracing country music, but as I looked at my own musical tastes, it seemed inevitable that I would embrace it at some point, and I did. I prefer old country music, and tend to not like what passes as “country music” today, but I’m comparing that to the music of the old. Probably sounds like a familiar gripe for anyone who is a fan of any other form of music. However, when it came to Martin Høybye, I didn’t know what kind of music he would do on Night Like This, but when I heard that it was country, I was excited about it. But it’s not just “country”.
Night Like This is a mixture of country, rock, and Americana, and while some might read these terms and go “aren’t they pretty much the same?”, I would say yes and no. The point is, Høybye plays both styles of country very well. When he gets rural and rustic, he sounds like the artists of the past who worked the fields and celebrated both the good and the bad. He also does the modern style of country that has a pop/rock sheen, and his version is a bit more direct and to the point, without the loftiness of other artists today. Then there are tracks that sound like classic Bruce Springsteen, where you can imagine Høybye picking up the guitar, looking at the world around him and saying “I want to salute you by writing this story” and that’s one of the reason I like this album too: he’s a storyteller, one who does it well enough to where you are picturing his tales in your mind until you feel you have a vision of what he may have seen, even if those stories are simply a collage of influenced experiences.
If anything, Night Like This is an incredible example of music by a true American. However, Hoybye is originally from Denmark. Can someone from across the Atlantic ocean do “down home music” that some Americans know, love, and live? People gave Shania Twain a pass. Away from countries of origin, Martin Høybye represents quality in writing, playing, and singing good music, or at least a “feel good” music that you want to tell everyone about, a bit of the “word of mouth” spirit that can be heard on Night Like This. Yet with the sounds that are on here, it seems that he would be comfortable in playing anything and everything, or at least he comes off as someone who would be willing to incorporate it with what he does, and have it still sound like Høybye. It’s craftsmanship, and everyone should hear what that sounds like.